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Where Do You Want To Live When You Retire?
Make a move or stay put? That’s the question you need to ask yourself when thinking about your retirement, right? After all, deciding where and how you live can be crucial to getting the retirement you deserve.
If you are considering moving, consider the following questions:
o What factors are important to you when you think about where you will live?
o Do you want to stay in your current area or move further?
o Are you looking to move into a home that you could live in for the rest of your life or are you ready for another move at some stage in the future?
o Do you want to be closer to your family – parents, children, grandchildren, brother or sister with whom you could be supportive?
o Do you want to be part of the community? Would it be a retirement community or a mixed community with different age ranges of people living in it?
o What would be your ideal lifestyle?
o Do you need to move to be near the activities you love and will you still be able to access those activities if you are unable to drive?
o What neighborhood features would be important? What would be desirable??
o How far would you be willing to walk to essential facilities? How willing would you be to drive to, for example, a supermarket or a hospital?
o Do you want somewhere smaller or bigger?
o Do you want an apartment/apartment or a house?
o Garden or no garden? Flower beds (to weed!) or lawns?
o Do you want a place that is easy to manage and keep clean, or is that not an issue yet?
o If you and your partner cannot agree on where to live, how will you find a compromise?
If you’re planning to move to a completely different area, consider living there for a trial period (unless you already know it very well) before committing to the real thing. Consider renting a house in your chosen location for 6 months – this should give you enough time to check out the area and find out if it’s the place you were hoping for. If you can’t handle a 6 month stay, at least take a vacation there and make sure you get a good look at different times of the day and different days of the week.
If you are considering moving abroad, check your chosen location at different times of the year. The quiet and peaceful haven you visited in winter could be tourist hell in summer, complete with price spikes, water shortages and hordes of drunken teenagers.
If you want to stay in your current home, it might be wise to spend some time thinking about your physical environment and how well it meets your needs now that you’re retired and potentially spending more time at home.
Your physical environment consists of your home, your home office or hobby space, your car and your garden. Whenever you walk into someone’s home, office, car or garden, you immediately get an impression of what kind of person they are. What is your physical environment saying about you right now?
Take your living space, for example:
o What do the colors in your living space say about you?
o What sounds can you hear?
o What does it smell like?
o What about the quality of light – is your home bright and airy or dark and dirty?
o Do you have broken equipment lying around?
o Do you have unfinished projects that need to be completed?
o What is your favorite room? What makes it your favorite room? What activities do you do there? How do you feel when you are in this room?
o Does your home reflect your personality? If not, what would have to happen to make it happen?
If you have a garden or yard, what is it like?
o Is it well maintained or weedy and overgrown?
o Is gardening a job or an enjoyable activity for you? Why?
o Do you enjoy your garden?
o Is your garden filled with your favorite plants or plants left behind by the previous tenant?
o Does your garden reflect your personality? If not, what would have to happen to make it happen?
If you have a home office or hobby room, what does that say about you?
o Is it a clean, tidy, well-organized space?
o Is it cluttered, hard to find things?
o Is it filled with unfinished projects?
o Are your files easy to find and in good condition?
o Does this space reflect your personality? If not, what would have to happen to make it happen?
Is your car well maintained and serviced?
o Do you drive a make and model of car that you feel reflects your personality?
o Is the exterior of your car clean and polished?
o Is the interior of your car clean, fresh smelling and clutter free?
o Does your car reflect your personality? If not, what would have to happen to make it happen?
What does your clutter and broken gear say about you?
o That you are tired and lethargic?
o Being afraid to let go of old and broken things (which suggests a ‘scarcity’ mentality rather than an ‘abundance’ mentality)
o That you are unable to let go of the past?
o That your time management skills are weak and you don’t have time to fix things?
o How does your clutter and broken equipment affect you?
I know it can be hard to be surrounded by beautiful things and have well-maintained, modern equipment if you’re on a fixed income and maybe don’t have the energy you had when you were young (or doe). However, I also know how much a home can be a refuge. I am aware of the need to use your resources to the best of your ability to create a warm, comfortable haven that nurtures you and makes you breathe a sigh of relief when you close the door on the world at the end of a hard day.
Make your home clean and clutter-free and keep it that way. Consider keeping only items that are useful or beautiful. Make your environment comfortable, welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. Surround yourself with objects that give you pleasure and colors that make you feel good.
Make your surroundings match your planned lifestyle. For example, if you don’t like or want to drive, live somewhere within walking distance of the places you want and need to be, or make sure you have easy access to public transportation.
If you are remodeling your home or looking for a new home that will fit your needs as you age, visit the AARP site at http://www.aarp.org and type the words ‘Universal Design’ into the ‘SEARCH’ field. This will take you to a collection of articles and checklists on using universal design principles in your home. (Homes that have universal design features are much easier to use for people of all ages, heights, and levels of health and ability.)
If you have a choice about where to live, choose a place that fits your personality, feeds your soul, is populated by like-minded people and makes you feel alive. Don’t stay in a dreary, dead-end town just because you were born there or went to college there or your job took you there and never moved out.
Finally, go out into nature as often as possible and bring nature into your home. If you don’t have a garden, get some nice potted plants. Many people like to have fresh flowers in their home, but they can be expensive. If you can’t afford to buy flowers regularly, buy flowering plants instead (or plant them from seed and enjoy watching them grow). Place a small table in a nice sunny spot and have breakfast there. Place window boxes on your windowsills and a bird feeder in front of the window. I’ve never really considered myself a bird watcher, but since moving to a house that has a patio door that overlooks a thick hedge, I’ve been fascinated by the birds that nest there every year and their antics often make me laugh out loud.
And finally, ask yourself the following questions:
What would my perfect living space look like?
Where would I live if I could live anywhere in the world?
What kind of house or apartment would I live in?
What would my view be like out the window?
What colors would I use?
What kind of artwork would I decorate my home with?
What would I like to hear in the area?
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